The Art of the Steal (2013)

(On Cable TV, August 2014) I’m a sucker for fast-moving crime comedies, and so it is that Canadian low-budget The Art of the Steal manages to hit all of the right buttons.  From the get-go, it presents itself with narration-heavy stylish grace, zipping along its plot points while keeping a pleasantly cynical tone throughout.  Kurt Russell stars as the protagonist/narrator, a master thief who’s been burnt once by an accomplice (Matt Dillon, as slickly slimy as he can be).  When both of them are reunited for One Last Caper, you can guess where the story goes.  Jay Baruchel becomes another good neurotic oddball (alongside veteran Terence Stamp for an added touch of class), but it’s writer/director Jonathan Sobol who delivers the most stylish performance.  While The Art of the Steal liberally borrows from other similar films down to the expected twist ending, the result is pleasant enough to excuse any familiarity: sometimes, comfort is what we’re after, and fans of caper films should be more than happy with the result.  Best of all; this is a cheerfully Canadian film both in origins and in setting: For something shown partially to fulfill CanCon requirements for home-grown cable channels, it’s surprisingly entertaining and slickly made as a bonus. 

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